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TV Audience for Trump-Clinton Debate to Approach 80-Million Record | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Donald Trump speaks as Hillary Clinton listens. Reuters/Rick Wilking

The television audience for the first U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump looks set to approach 80-million viewer record for such events set in 1980, early Nielsen data cited by U.S. media suggested on Tuesday.

But initial data from the four main broadcast networks suggested that Monday evening’s 90-minute debate, which was carried on multiple U.S. broadcast and cable networks, would not surpass 100 million viewers, as some analysts had predicted ahead of the face-off.

The Hollywood Reporter said preliminary Nielsen data showed that some 45.8 million Americans watched the debate on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC– that was a 23 percent increase on the initial audience from the same networks for the first 2012 match-up between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney that translated to a total overall audience of 67.2 million viewers.

“This puts the debate on track to smash that 2012 total and very likely approach an all-time high,” The Hollywood Reporter said.

The most watched U.S. presidential debate was between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter in 1980 and attracted a TV audience of 80.6 million viewers.

Media website TVLine.com said the preliminary data suggested the audience for Trump-Clinton on Monday could be about 81 million TV viewers. But it said the numbers would not be as big as the annual football Super Bowl, which attracts more than 100 million viewers and is the biggest TV event in the United States.

Initial figures did not include millions who watched the debate in restaurants and online through Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Source: Reuters